Intermediate Japanese Language Learning with Dazai Osamu
Complimentary Japanese Reading Lessons From Maplopo Schoolhouse
Season ONE—水仙 (Page Five)
Read the full の, EP4 transcript | Intermediate and Advanced Japanese
Now, with INDEPENDENT words you have two further groupings: you have CAN be conjugated and CANNOT be conjugated.
To illustrate the kinds of words that CAN be conjugated or CANNOT be conjugated, let’s take a look at a sentence just slightly different than the last one.
Okay. So, basically, this sentence means: “I read a magazine that was not interesting.” Or, “I read a boring magazine.” Right? So, “面白い” means “interesting”—and that’s the “dictionary form” of the word. When it’s conjugated in the negative sense, as it is here, it reads: 面白くない.
Okay. The second word that has the ability to be conjugated is the verb. And, we’ve seen this before, right? So, (the) dictionary form is: 読む—it’s past tense. So, it’s conjugated as 読んだ. There are two additional independent words in this sentence, (and) both of those words cannot be conjugated. So, overall, two words that can be conjugated… two words that cannot be conjugated. Let’s take this just one step further. Adjectives and verbs (which are independent words and can be conjugated) are referred to in Japanese as 予言. Nouns and pronouns (which are also independent words, but cannot be conjugated) are referred to as 体現. Let’s look at an additional sentence.
Can you tell in this new example which is the 用言 word and which is the 予言? You’re right. The 体現 word is in the subject block, and it’s 雑誌. And in the predicate block is our 用言 word—the conjugated version of 面白い.
What we’d like to illustrate here, is this subject block has a love for 予言 words. Specific requirements that 予言 words exist in that subject block. So, we can use 雑誌 here… no problem. But what about Dazai… when he starts playing with this first sentence of his? He has a clause in there. When that happens, you need to change… and play with the grammar a little bit.
Because, placing anything other than a 予言 word in that subject block throws the grammar out of whack. We need to play with it a little bit, right? Like I said. So, if you were to place a 用言 word in that subject block (a verb or an adjective), then they’re going to need the help of this little の that we call the taigen-maker. And, in Dazai’s sentence you can see this at play, right? He has a clause in there, and just before the は he has の. And, that makes the grammar sing… and, the grammar work.